view from the ridge

  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

Resurrection Sunday has come. And gone. Christ-followers worldwide responded to shouts of “He is risen!” with the glad cry, “He is risen indeed!”

But many of us are still living in Saturday – that uncertain space where as my friend Jan Carlberg writes,

Life dangles between bad news and hope, even for those of us who believe the story’s true and mean it when we shout, ‘Christ is risen!’

This morning the difficult news came of the cancer diagnosis of a good friend. Another one. So many, so hard. Peace Ridge is exploding with signs of new life, yet as I try to clutch joy with both fists I can’t let go of the sorrow clenched in my soul for so many who are suffering.

This is why I must tell you of a brand new book that demonstrates our God is still in the business of doing miracles: Greater Things Than These: Practicing What Jesus Preached, by Texas author and international minister Jan de Chambrier.

Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant when he said in John 14:12-13 that we’ll do “greater things”?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Like me, do you want to believe God is still in the business of performing miracles today? Are you skeptical because of the claims of faith healers or past disappointments when you’ve prayed for healing and it failed to come?

I hear you, friend, because I share that skepticism and those disappointments.

But when my own family members testify to what they’ve personally witnessed of the healing power of Jesus through intercessory prayer, I believe.

I know what they say is true because I know them. And I know the God they serve.

I have known Jan since we were babies growing up together in Illinois. Jan’s mother and my father are siblings. As first cousins Jan and I share the same ancestral heritage in Norway, where our grandparents were born and where we will be serving together this fall.

Jan de Chambrier, author and minister of healing prayer

Jan and her husband, Philippe, travel internationally as ministers of healing prayer and soul care. They’ve been invited to teach the core values of the Christian faith in many countries including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Belize, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, and Argentina. They’ve also led conferences and seminars in places as diverse as Kuwait, India, Germany, Switzerland, Vietnam and Mongolia with upcoming invitations to speak in Congo, France, and the Philippines  Jan has worked with teams to establish centers for healing prayer at hospitals throughout the Houston area.

Listen to Jan’s firsthand account of the healing of a blind woman in a hospital room in Houston:

When (Bartimaeus) heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Luke 10:47-52

“Having just read this passage aloud, I regarded the hopeful countenance on the unlined, translucent face of Ellen, a hospital patient propped up on pillows in her bed. She and her husband, Fred, exuded the kind of faith that can move mountains. Ellen had been blinded by a stroke, but she believed Jesus could restore her sight.

Earlier that Wednesday morning, one of our prayer team members had visited Ellen while doing rounds as a volunteer chaplain. Breezing into the chapel a few minutes late for our regularly scheduled service, Shirley whispered to me, “Jan, there’s a patient upstairs who is blind and believes that Jesus wants to heal her. Can we go up there together and pray?”

I eagerly approved Shirley’s request and quickly reconfigured our plans in the chapel that day, sharing this prayer need with the intercessors who would remain there. I asked Leon, another charter member of our team, to come as well, and the three of us hurried onto the elevator. We felt our faith rise with every passing floor.

We introduced ourselves to Ellen and her husband, although only he could put faces to our names. Then I read aloud the story of blind Bartimaeus.

Ellen, just as Jesus healed Bartimaeus, so he is willing and able to heal you. Fred, would you place your hand over Ellen’s eyes?”

As her loving husband covered her eyes with his right hand, I said, “I am going to put my hand over Fred’s, and then Shirley and Leon will put theirs over mine.” A hand sandwich – although I didn’t verbalize it.

Lord, thank you that you are our Creator and the one who is able to make all things new, all things holy and whole. Your Word tells us that you are not a respecter of persons; that what you have done for one, you are willing and able to do for another.

Just as you touched and healed Bartimaeus, we ask you, Lord Jesus, to touch and heal Ellen. In the name and by the blood of Jesus, we command these eyes to receive their sight! Thank you, Jesus!”

We removed our hands from her eyes and stepped away, moving several feet back to stand expectantly at the foot of the bed. A rather dazed Ellen stared at us, almost reluctant to give voice to what had suddenly appeared before her, as if it might disappear like a mirage.

You’re bald headed!” she ventured, pointing toward eighty-something Leon. “And you’re blonde and curly headed!” were her words to me. She also correctly assessed Shirley with “You have dark hair.” With increasing excitement, she pointed to the farthest wall from her bed. “I see a clock over there, and I think it says one o’clock.”

Hooting and hollering with joy, the five of us nearly raised the roof, praising Jesus for hearing and answering our prayers, just as he had with Bartimaeus. We wafted back down to the chapel as if on eagles’ wings, and Shirley, Leon, and I shared this miraculous account with the rest of the team.

We were all praying down here as you were praying up there!” they exuberantly reported.

Heaven had come to earth as our faith had become sight, the body of Christ working together in unity, putting into practice what Jesus taught us to do.

To believe is to see.” – Jan de Chambrier

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7

 – Excerpt from Greater Things Than These: Practicing What Jesus Preached by Jan de Chambrier, Healing Tree International, 2019. Used by permission.

 ** For more information or to order copies, please visit Jan’s ministry website

#Christianhealingprayer #intercessoryprayer #moderndaymiracles #JandeChambrier #greaterthingsthanthese #Jesusteachings #healing

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But someone else has already shown up whose arrival makes me shout for joy every year.

It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s daisy. It’s a roller-skating, scissor-grinding day;It’s gingham-waisted, chocolate-flavored, lazy,With the children flower-scattered at their play.

Springtime in the Smokies

So begins one of my favorite childhood poems: “April” by © Marcia Lee Masters.

As a farm kid growing up in northern Illinois, I longed for spring. Waiting for April’s arrival was like watching for a favorite aunt to come – it took forever for her to get here and the visit was over way too soon.

April gives indulgent permission to run outdoors with bare feet luxuriating in the feel of the new spring grass between your toes. April produces from her deep pockets gifts of baby chicks in the coop and lambs birthing in the barn. Swallows building their nests and dandelions pegging a carpet of green.

It’s the sun like watermelon
And the sidewalks overlaid
With a glaze of yellow yellow
Like a jar of marmalade.

One of my favorite college memories was the awakening of spring on what we called “front campus” – the sprawling park-like lawn and gardens sloping away from Blanchard Hall, the iconic symbol of Wheaton College. The college gardeners would plant daffodil bulbs spelling out “It’s Spring!”, which never failed to make me laugh. After the interminable Midwest winter, we needed spring spelled out for us.

It’s the mower gently mowing,
And the stars like startled glass,
While the mower keeps on going
Through a waterfall of grass.

Then the rich magenta evening
Like a sauce upon the walk,
And the porches softly swinging
With a hammockful of talk.

Now I’m a woman who has anticipated over six decades of April’s visits, yet I’m no less anxious for her to arrive with her gifts.

See there – the forsythia has blushed yellow overnight. Did you notice the purple carpet of squill? Prospective boarders are checking out the birdhouse on the balcony….I hope they like us.

Email today delivered its quota of sorrowful news: a close friend sustained a painful injury, others have children in crisis, a third is wrestling with the reality of cognitive impairment in her spouse. I stop to pray for these loved ones and chafe again at a world that reads like a book with too many endings.

Yet April sticks in my consciousness like a green sticky note reminding me winter has not won and spring has indeed sprung.

The renaissance of the world was the Creator’s idea after all.

Somewhere in New England the sap is running in the maple trees. I swear I can smell the sweetness even from here.

It’s lemonade, it’s lemonade, it’s April!
A water sprinkler, puddle winking time,
When a boy who peddles slowly,
With a smile remote and holy,
Sells you April, chocolate-flavored, for a dime.

What do you love most about the arrival of spring?

Leave a comment, please. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

#SpringSmokies #poetry #April #daffodils #rebirthofworld #WheatonCollege #goodnews

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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

So did you know you can banish pet hair from your clothes or furniture with the swipe of a dryer sheet? Just read this in print in Readers Digest and online in Southern Living.

Next to the Bible there are no more trusted sources in the South.

I get a kick out of finding easy, inexpensive ways to manage time or activities more efficiently. These strategies or techniques are called hacks but they’ve been around forever. (Want to clean out your gutters without climbing a ladder? Attach PVC pipes to your leaf blower. Need to thread a needle? Spritz it with hairspray to stiffen it.)

My friend KariAnne is a genius at decorating hacks: super cute low-cost décor for her home. It was fun to read her new ideas (like using drop clothes for casual curtains) when I dropped into Thistlewood Farms .

As I mentioned last week, I recently did a Spiritual Gifts Inventory and found it helpful to see the list of the many gifts I don’t have. It takes the pressure off! Our pastor reminded us we’re also accountable to use the specific gifts we have been given. Hospitality continues to be one of my passions, and I welcome little things I can do to make guests feel welcome without straining our retirement budget.

Here’s a diminutive chalkboard sign I found at a local crafts store – it was only $4 using a 50% coupon. It’s small enough to display on a corner of the bureau in our guestroom, but large enough to personalize a welcome using a chalk marker. (It’s reusable and wipes right off with water.)

I also had a little “Happy Together” photo block gifted to me, and enjoy using it to display a color photo or two of arriving guests. We’ve started saving Christmas card photos the last few years for that exact purpose. You can also print friends’ photos from Facebook using your color printer.

Meal planning can be the most puzzling part of hosting guests, but you can take the guesswork out of the process by developing a few tried-and-true menus. I like creating meals around what’s in season at our local Farmer’s Market, but during the winter months I rely on pulled pork in the crock pot, homemade chicken pie from the freezer or my sister-in-law Lori’s spaghetti pie, which serves a crowd. We served this to friends with kids who stopped overnight this past weekend on their spring break trip to Florida. Add a hearty green salad and garlic toast and you have an easy-to-prep meal.

My go-to dessert to welcome guests to Peace Ridge is a simple chocolate cake with Ghirardelli chocolate chips made special by baking it in a Pine Forest bundt pan. Sift  powdered sugar ‘snow’ on the peaks, then serve with plenty of whipped cream and hot fudge sauce. Maybe raspberries too in season.

Biblical hospitality, though, goes beyond clean sheets and welcome mats. It’s a topic I’ve often addressed online because I believe in it so strongly. As author Karen Mains wrote decades ago in her classic book on the subject, it’s about having an open heart as well as an open home.

Hospitality is welcoming the stranger and the refugee. It’s about issuing an invitation to the quiet older man who can never invite you back as well as to friends likely to reciprocate. It includes welcoming new folks to your church home, your community and your country.

And a relatively new thought for me? Hospitality is a matter of the head as well as the heart. It’s about entertaining new ideas and thoughtfully considering other points of view.

     Listening rather than lecturing.

          Being slow to speak and even slower to take offense.

You might not invite those new ideas or alternate views to take up permanent residence. But you’re not afraid of them either. Personally I learn so little when I speak, but I learn so much when I listen.

Do you have favorite hospitality hacks? Please leave a note in the Comments section so we can learn from you too.

New ideas are always welcome!

#Southernliving #ReadersDigest #lifehacks #hospitalityhacks #biblicalhospitality #welcomingstrangers

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